Gamma-Volantis on BEXUS 28: From the first sketch to the launch campaign

2020-07-07T15:09:21Z (GMT) by Elisabeth Berka Nils Hensch
It is hard for students to get hands-on experience in the field of aeronautics and to apply knowledge learned in university to actual projects, since space missions are complex, expensive, and take a long time to complete. Therefore, a group of students at the Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden) formed the group “Studentische Arbeitsgruppe Raumfahrt Dresden” (STAR Dresden), which focuses on giving students from different study fields the chance to work on space related activities, by taking part in various competitions and student projects, and even hosting events in Dresden. Currently, STAR Dresden is participating in the Balloon Experiment for University Students (BEXUS), which is organisedby the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the Swedish National Space Agency (SNSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA). One of the teams selected for BEXUS cycle 12 is Gamma-Volantis, which is implementing a setup for experimental ozone and humidity sensors developed by TU Dresden’s Institute of Aerospace Engineering (ILR). The balloon flight carrying the experiment will take place in October. Until then, the students will be able to work on subsystems typical for space flight missions and will learn how to write a Student Experiment Document (SED). This document is the scientific documentation of the experiment. They will also gather experience of presenting their work, giving presentations in front of the BEXUS board during design reviews such as the preliminary design review (PDR) and the critical designreview (CDR), and even in front of potential sponsors. Due to the tight schedule provided by the launch date, the students will also have to learn to cooperate and communicate between the different subsystem teams, and to be organized in order to achieve the desired goal. This paper will present the Gamma-Volantis experiment and the methods used by the students to acquire further knowledge and experience on space flight missions. It will contain the difficulties arising from the experiment’s requirements and the given circumstances under which the project is supposed to operate. The paper will also discuss the different approaches used by the students to solve the problems and how they interact with different parties such as the BEXUS experts or other student teams from Europe. Overall it will summarize the lessons learned by the students and how they expanded their knowledge during the BEXUS project.